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One drink a day raises heart risk in elderly women

Even moderate drinking can harm elderly women's hearts Credit: Richard Gray / EMPICS

Even moderate amounts of drinking can lead to a reduction in heart function in older women, American research has shown.

A study of nearly 4,500 people with an average age of 76 has shown that one drink a day can cause damage - but only to women.

Lead researcher Dr Scott Solomon, from Harvard Medical School, said: "Women appear more susceptible than men to the cardiotoxic effects of alcohol, which might potentially contribute to a higher risk of alcohol cardiomyopathy [heart damage linked to alcohol] for any given level of alcoholic intake."

Heavy drinking, meanwhile, was shown to damage men's hearts in a similar way

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More than a third 'not using cholesterol drugs'

More than a third of people prescribed drugs for high cholesterol are putting themselves at a dramatically increased risk of heart problems by failing to take their medication for the condition, the British Heart Foundation (BHF) has warned.

The BHF said online research into 1,025 people in the UK conducted in February has shown 36% of cholesterol patients fail to take their prescribed medication for the condition.

The research has coincided with a study that also found cholesterol-lowering drugs could benefit even apparently healthy people with no previous history of heart disease.

'More pragmatic to use age as an indicator' for statin treatment

UK experts have said more affordable ways of identifying patients suitable for statin therapy were needed, after a recent study found that the treatment could benefit even healthy people with no history of heart disease.

New study finds cholesterol-lowering drugs can also help healthy people Credit: ITV News

In an accompanying article, Professor Shah Ebrahim and Dr Juan Casas from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine wrote:

"Because most people older than 50 years are likely to be at a greater than 10% 10-year risk of CVD (cardio-vascular disease), it would be more pragmatic to use age as the only indicator of statin prescription. This approach would avoid the costs".

Guideline for statin therapy 'should be reconsidered'

Cholesterol-lowering drugs can benefit even apparently healthy people with no previous history of heart disease, a study has found.

The authors of the new research say the findings suggest international treatment guidelines for statins should be reconsidered.

This benefit greatly exceeds any known hazards of statin therapy. Under present guidelines, such individuals would not typically be regarded as suitable for [low density lipoprotein] LDL-lowering statin therapy.

The present report suggests, therefore, that these guidelines might need to be reconsidered.

– Professor Colin Baigent, from Oxford University

Treatment for guidelines for statins 'should be reconsidered'

A study has found Statins reduced the risk of serious vascular events by more than a fifth for each unit reduction in levels of harmful cholesterol. In individuals where the five-year chance of a major event was less than 10%, the already small risk was significantly lowered.

''This large-scale research found even people at low risk of heart disease could benefit from statin therapy''

''The findings will help to inform policy and treatment guidelines in the future''

– June Davison, senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation
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